Experiencing more of Advent in Catholic schools

Advent for Catholic schools is such a special time. Despite all the busyness of the end of the school year there is still so much opportunity to share the hope of Christmas in powerful ways. In today’s podcast I share another wonderful quote from Pope Benedict that reminds us all of the beauty of Christmas, the importance of liturgical seasons and how we can all rediscover the ‘star of hope’.

Helping Catholic Students Find Hope In Advent

Well, hey, everybody. Jonathan Doyle with you, as always, for The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Hope you’re doing well. Advent. It’s on now. It’s happening in real time, and Christmas Day is just around the corner. For my American listeners, I hope you’re getting ready for a break. My Australian listeners, this is it. It’s been a long year, but our American listeners probably wouldn’t understand is that here in Australia, we sort of finish up now. We’ve got the long summer break, so a well-deserved break to all these teachers, and hopefully my American friends are going to get a good break, too.

Hey to everybody in the UK, Canada, other places around the world. It’s great to be sharing these daily messages with you. Listen, today’s quote is a good one. We’re talking about Advent and listen, if you’re not part of the Facebook group Passionate Catholic Teachers, please make sure you come and subscribe and join that group, because we’re posting in there all the time, and today I’ve been posting questions about what are you doing in the classroom for Advent? How do you share Advent with young people? So if you’re hearing this today, jump onto Facebook and do a search for Passionate Catholic Teachers and you’ll find the group there. Because I’d love to hear your thoughts about what do you do to help Advent become more real for young people. My son is 10. He’s got a beautiful faith. Really proud of him, and every Sunday at mass, here in Advent, they light the next candle, and he’s really across it. He loves watching it. He loves the lighting. He knows what the colors are. So don’t underestimate these beautiful ritual moments, these seasons that can be wonderful openings to really share the faith with young people.

For example, here’s today’s quote from Pope Benedict. It’s deep, so listen carefully. He says this: “Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory. It brings hope. The purpose of the church’s year is to continually rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.” Isn’t that a great quote? I love this last bit where he says, “The purposes of the church’s year is to continually rehearse her great history of memories.” This great history of memories. So when you’re sharing Advent with young people, it’s bigger than just sort of Advent. It’s awakening in them this sense of time and God active in time. You know, Advent isn’t really an abstract concept. It’s recalling a concrete reality. You know, it’s not a mythical story. This is a reality that God broke into human history at the appointed time. And the Scripture beautifully says that phrase: “at the appointed time,” at the Kairos moment. At the right time, God broke into history.

So one of the beautiful things about our Catholic faith is that it’s bound up in history. It’s bound up in real concrete historical context, and real concrete historical moments. So anything you can do in Advent just to share the beauty of this season, this preparation time, this time of stillness. And as Pope Benedict says, helping us to discern the star of hope. And I was thinking as I prepared today’s message … I’m thinking, “How many of our young people struggle for hope?” They might have been through family breakdown or they’ve seen illness or disease or even just social media and the news cycle fills their heads with this idea that the world is a difficult or a dark place.

An Advent constantly can draw them into this awareness that there is hope, that there is goodness, that there is possibility. So I just want to thank you for it. Anything you can do in this Advent season. Just take the kids to the chapel. Light the Advent candle. Give them a time of stillness and reflection. Read some of the Gospel stories to them. And anything else that you can suggest, so jump on the Facebook group and share this with people. Let us know what you’re doing at the moment.

All right, that’s all I wanted to say. I wanted to share that quote with you. It’s another short message today. Please come and follow me. Instagram: jonathandoyle47. Twitter: You can find me at @beingcatholic1. Just at @beingcatholic1 on Twitter, and you can find the podcast and everything else at BeingCatholic.com.au . Hope you’re getting ready for this break. I’m excited. I’m going to have a good break and then I’m going to be doing the NCA keynote for about 10,000 Catholic teachers in Baltimore, Maryland. So if you’re an American listener, beg, borrow, steal. I mean, don’t steal, necessarily. Get the funding to come to the NCA Convention in Baltimore. It’s going to be a really exciting event. I’m really excited about the keynote. I think God’s put a lot on my heart to share with you all, so I hope you can be there in Baltimore in April. It’s going to be awesome. Friends, please make sure you subscribe to the podcast. Please share this podcast with other teachers.

Can I pray with you for a sec? Would that be okay? Whether you’re driving, operating heavy machinery, maybe turn it off for a sec. Father, I thank You for every Catholic teacher listening. I thank You that You are the God that restores us. You’re the God that carries us when we’re tired. I know there’s many teachers, Father, listening to this, that are weary towards the end of the year. I ask You to carry them through with grace. Holy Spirit, inspire them. Give them the courage, wisdom, and energy to press on through to the end. Blessed Mother, I entrust every teacher listening to this to your immaculate heart.

God bless you, friends. Thank you for everything you do every day in the journey of Catholic education. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’ll have another message for you tomorrow.

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One Catholic Teacher exists to inspire, encourage and support Catholic teachers around the world. Each day Jonathan Doyle offers a short dose of formation and encouragement via The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Jonathan is also a global speaker and author on all issues related to Catholic Education.